Unique Ways to Use Brushes in Photoshop Elements

In Photoshop Elements, brushes can do a lot more than just paint. In our Photoshop Elements training course, expert Adobe author Andy Anderson teaches you everything you need to know to use the brush tool to its fullest extent. In this post, we’ll teach you some unique ways to use the brush tool.

Brush tips and shortcuts

In the Photoshop Elements Editor, select the paint brush tool (or press B on your keyboard). TIP: You can use the left and right brackets to make the brush size larger or smaller. If you simply want to draw a straight line, start by clicking anywhere in the workspace. Then move to where you would like the end of the line to be, and holding down the shift key click again. As long as you are holding down the shift key, the brush will draw a straight line for you.


If you want to soften or harden the edge of the brush, you can use the left and right bracket keys shortcut, but this time also holding down the shift key. Shift-left will make the brush have a softer edge, and shift-right will make a harder edge.

Create your own

While it’s apparent that there are a plethora of brushes available in Photoshop Elements, you also have the ability to create your own! Alternatively, you can download thousands of Photoshop brushes from the web by doing a simple Google search. Andy shows a fun way to create a brush style out of a graphic. Choose a graphic you like, then using the rectangular marquee tool, outline the graphic (leaving a bit of space all around), turn of the background, and go to Edit>Define Brush. In here, simply name the brush and click ok. To find your brush style you’ve just made, go back to the paint brush tool (the letter B on your keyboard), and the brush you just make will typically be the last one in the brushes list.

Brush settings

There are a number of brush settings available in Elements for you to play around with and customize your brush style with. For example, if you want to create a water or oil paint colour effect, you can adjust the fade setting.

The hue jitter setting will mix the foreground and background colours to create a multicolour brush stroke.

The scatter setting creates individual strokes of the brush for a “scattered” effect, rather than one solid line.

Learn more

If you’d like to learn more about brushes, check out our Photoshop Elements training courses on our website. Plus, check out these free tutorial videos that demonstrate the many uses of the brush tool in Photoshop Elements.

In this video, Andy will show you how to paint a select piece of an image using the paint brush tool.

In this video from our Photoshop Elements 10 training course, expert trainer Jerron Smith shows you how to make your own custom brushes.



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